A Stretch mark is a type of scar that develops when the skin stretches or shrinks quickly. The abrupt change causes the collagen and elastin, which support the skin, to rupture. As the skin heals, stretch marks may appear.
Stretch marks can appear anywhere where the skin has been stretched but are most common on areas of the body where there’s weight gain and fat is stored, such as the stomach, breasts, thighs, buttocks, and upper arms.
When stretch marks first appear, they tend to be purple, red, pink, reddish-brown, or dark brown, depending on the person’s skin color. Early stretch marks may feel itchy and slightly raised.
In time, the color fades and the narrow bands sink beneath the skin. When one run’s a finger over a mature stretch mark, they would often feel a slight depression.
According to a 2016 review of studies, red stretch marks occur during the acute phase of this stretching, while white stretch marks are characteristic of the chronic phase. The red hue indicates the presence of blood vessels under the skin. These blood vessels may respond well to treatment.
Whereas, white or silverish colored marks are older scars and can’t be treated with topical creams. Treatments like ‘Microdermabrasion’ can help to improve the texture and give a polished look. However, this treatment will not be able to restore collagen or elastin. The white marks are the most stubborn scarring on the skin, as they are tiny tears on the skin. This is one of the reasons that there hasn’t been any ‘perfect cure’ for white stretch marks till now.
As one puts on weight, the skin is stretched. People are most likely to develop stretch marks during these times especially,
- Growth spurts that happen during puberty
- Rapid weight loss or gain
Stretch marks affect women during the later stages of pregnancy as the baby grows to full term. Although pregnancy stretch marks will fade after childbirth, they may not disappear completely.
Most stretch marks will fade on their own over time. They may become less noticeable after fading. Faded stretch marks usually look lighter in color than the surrounding skin and a little shiny, like a scar. Research tells us there is no secret cure-all ingredient for stretch marks — well at least not yet.
Topical creams and ointments are more affordable methods for reducing the appearance of white stretch marks. Some creams are available over-the-counter, while others are prescribed by a doctor. Though there are many creams, lotions, or gels sold in stores that are said to treat scars, when in fact many products don’t seem to work at all.
When one tried to use creams, lotions, or gels to fade stretch marks, be sure to:
- Use the product on early stretch marks because it seems to have little effect on mature stretch marks.
- Massage the product into the stretch marks. It is found to be more effective when one takes time to massage the product gently into the skin.
- Apply the product every day for weeks. It takes weeks for results to appear.
Dermatologists use the following procedures to make stretch marks less noticeable and with modern technology, make the stretch marks fade away.
Chemical Peel: This treatment is an easy way to remove the top layer of dry cells on the skin and allow new cells to form, the result is smoother skin with less discoloration and fewer scars.
Laser Therapy: This treatment is used to repair and regenerate skin cells. It can soften and flatten the appearance of some stretch marks. Pulsed dye lasers and intense pulsed light can improve the appearance of stretch marks and increase collagen production over time. Though this method is proven very effective, it requires more than one session to notice results.
Microdermabrasion: This procedure targets the upper layer of skin (epidermis), and works by stimulating the skin to tighten collagen and elastin fibers. This painless procedure is used to reduce the appearance of white stretch marks. In this procedure, tiny exfoliating crystals are sprayed on the area and using a wand-like device, the crystals are gently removed, taking with them dead skin from the epidermis layer. This procedure also needs to be repeated over a period of time to see the results.
Here are some tips to protect your skin against stretch marks:
- Discuss healthy weight gain for pregnancy with the doctor. The addition of weight should be phased and gradual during pregnancy.
- Try to eat healthy in order to prevent gaining too much weight too quickly. Foods rich in antioxidants, and vitamin E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids like fish, nuts, fruits, vegetables, etc., are good for the skin.
- Always keep the skin well moisturized and hydrated with a rich lotion or cream – a good quality stretch marks cream can help too. It will ease itchiness and leave the skin feeling smoother and looking better.
- Exercise regularly to enable healthy and controlled weight gain. Don’t stop in between and restart after a while as it can lead to stretch marks. Always check with the doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.
- Drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated.
STRETCH MARKS TREATMENTS AT KLARA SKIN & HAIR CLINIC
Stretch Marks can take many years for them to become less noticeable – no matter how many lotions or creams you use.
We offer highly advanced procedures that stimulate collagen induction to improve poor-quality skin, to regenerate and repair itself naturally and safely.
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